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3 BAD Mistakes In Stability Training

low back pain

The term stability training gets thrown around just as much as core and functional training do, but do people even know what it really means?

The truth is that stability training is a real methodology! While it may sound a bit vague at first, what Dr. Marcello explains can be pretty deep, “allowing wanted movement while resisting unwanted movement.” As you can check out from Dr. Marcello really breaking down some keys of stability training, it isn’t what you tend to see online as stability training.

You can check out the full presentation HERE

So, what are some key mistakes to avoid when it comes to stability training?

Avoid Artificial Stability

Because most people don’t progress stability like they would weight or repetitions (could you imagine going from a 50 pound to 500 pound squat? That’s what people do to stability training all the time) therefore, they try to find ways to stabilize people in these overly unstable environments. I’ve seen people do everything from pushing into the walls behind them on single leg deadlift, to using foam rollers, to holding on to racks to balance. This is NOT good stability training as I explain below.

We can also see this mistake when people use supportive equipment that alters the body’s natural mechanics like elevating the heels on a squat. In doing so we create an environment that the body can’t access when it comes to moving in every day life (that is unless you plant to walk around in high heels all the time.

Using proper feedback of the core, lats, hips, and feet is going to give the body better stability training than trying to remove essential joints that alter how the body creates movement. 

This even happens when we take a very wide stance on an exercise that demands stability. People often use the wider stance as artificial stability because our structure (not the coordination of our muscles) is providing the stability like below.

Using Unstable Tools

Wait?! Is the guy that has promoted the Ultimate Sandbag for almost 20 years telling us NOT to use unstable tools? Well, it is of course a bit more nuanced than that. For one, the Ultimate Sandbag is NOT always unstable. This is a BIG mistake people make in understanding the tool. Whether it is how much we have the USB filled, the dimension of the USB, and the plane of motion the USB moves, this can all change how stable or unstable the USB is in our training.

In other words, we aimed to make the Ultimate Sandbag incrementally unstable, but also provide the option to have a very stable tool as well. This discussion isn’t just important as it relates to the USB, but points to the major flaw in most unstable tools. The great majority of unstable tools (it doesn’t matter if we are talking about kettlebells attached to bands on a barbell or unstable surface tools) are always VERY unstable.

This can be an issue as when we are trying to restore proper motor control (like Dr. Marcello discussed) being in a very unstable environment could encourage more compensation and prolong or make our issues worse. Foundational stability can come in very simple forms like the drills below…

Progressing Your Stability Training

Often people think that there is a place for every tool and exercise. The more you start to learn about how the body works and what we are trying to train, you realize that isn’t really the case. Progressing stability training isn’t about finding a way to use a novel piece of equipment or exercise. Rather it can be very systematic as we often outline…

Upper Body Stability Progression: Change body position then load position then plane of motion

Lower Body Stability Progression: Change load position then body position then plane of motion

Stability training can be incredibly powerful in building greater strength, mobility, and overall functional fitness. The key though is you need to know how to use it properly. Below are some ideas of how to bring these concepts to life!

These are topics and in depth conversations we will go over and demonstrate in our 12 week DVRT Rx Low Back Pain course that will begin NEXT week! This week you can save $100 on our program and gain an educational experience like you have never had before! Just go HERE